Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Rethinking P.S. 36

Columbia Spectator
Home > Opinion

Rethinking P.S. 36
By Andrew Lyubarsky
Issue date: 11/28/06 Section: Opinion

The opening line of the "Neighbors" section of our university website proudly declares that "we at Columbia University take pride in our community and embrace opportunities to give back to the neighborhood we call home." Delving deeper into the website, we find a statement from President Bollinger on the Manhattanville expansion that states that "we have sought to work with our neighbors and community leaders to build a broad consensus on a shared future that will guide us in the decades ahead." Our administration says that it is proud of what it has done for the West Harlem community and argues that the University is a positive presence in the neighborhood.

Their sunny rhetoric is hard to reconcile with the images we saw recently on the cover of the Spectator of dozens of elementary schoolchildren protesting Columbia's decision to build a magnet school in league with the Department of Education on top of PS 36 on Morningside Drive. The decision would, at least temporarily, blend junior high school students with pre-K to 2nd grade kids, creating a potentially volatile safety situation and possibly leading to overcrowding. Understandably, this greatly concerns parents who are irate at having this decision imposed on a community institution they have come to respect.

The problem here is certainly not that Columbia's decision to build a school is inherently negative. The idea for the magnet school, which would specialize in math and science, was announced by President Bollinger to the University community last October. At that time, it met with at least tepid community support, although some concerns were raised as to whether it would genuinely serve the residents of Harlem or benefit more privileged constituencies. Community Board 9 Chairman Jordi Reyes-Montblanc was quoted as being "very happy" about the school, and it was touted by the administration as another positive institution it would set up in Harlem.

Now, Reyes-Montblanc is saying that he is ready to "blast everybody from the chancellor of DOE to the trustees of Columbia" to save PS 36. What could cause such a dramatic change of heart? The fact of the matter is, in direct contradiction to its stated position, Columbia went about the changes without consulting community members that would be affected by the changes or, apparently, the leadership apparatus at Community Board 9. I do not pretend to have the expertise to determine whether or not the new school will actually benefit the community-it may well have positive effects. I do see, however, that Columbia has acted in blatant violation of the principle of transparency. Columbia has told the community what it needs without giving them any agency or even bothering to listen to their objections. There is a word for launching ambitious projects to "aid" the less fortunate without allowing them any participation or input in the process-paternalism.

Unfortunately, this tends to be the rule rather than the exception in regards to our relations with Harlem. The Spectator famously uncovered that Columbia sent a payment of $300,000 to the Empire State Development Corporation to investigate whether or not the use of eminent domain to expel recalcitrant tenants would be possible in the Manhattanville expansion zone.

Columbia has refused to dialogue with the community's 197-A plan, a plan that took a decade to develop, for the development in the area. Instead, the University has propounded a plan that directly contradicts it, one that the community played absolutely no part in concocting. The University and the institutions that it is working with have also been notoriously unresponsive to demands to hold public proceedings and turn over documents to lawyers representing clients in the area. In this light, the administration's claims of inclusiveness are nothing less than rank hypocrisy.

Regardless of what one thinks of the merits of Columbia's expansion proposal, students should agree that the community whose lives will be profoundly affected by the changes have a right to know what Columbia is planning and to have a role in shaping the plan. We should let the administration know, in the strongest terms possible, that we hold them to a high standard and that we expect the community to have a voice in its own formation. This is a rallying cry that all of us can get behind.



NB- Point of clarification: Columbia University never consulted CB9M or the Chairman about opening a new Math & Science High School and we did not know about such plans until the announcement that CU intended to create such High School in the West Manhattanville expansion area, were made with Mayor Bloomberg and Congressman Rangel several months ago. When asked by the Spectator, the Chairman indicated his concerns that the school would not be intended for CB9M children although he was happy that a new school would open in the District.

There is none of the contradiction indicated by the article above regarding the current situation involving PS 36.

In regards to the temporary opening of that school within PS 36 again neither CB9M nor the Chairman nor the parents or staff of PS 36 were consulted. That CU would not consult CB9M is bad enough but when the Dept of Education fails to make such City Charter mandated consultations with CB9M, this failure by DOE is totally unacceptable and intolarable and the Chairman and CB9M will support the parents in their opposition.

Additionally CB9M's Youth, Education & Libraries Committee will be conducting a Public Hearing on December 6, 2006 at 6:30pm at the CB9M offices, to determine exactly what has happened and why if there were 350 vacan seats available at PS 36 why why there are not more children from our District being recruited to fill those seats as there is a great need for school space for children in the age bracket served by PS 36 and other concerns that the parents and community will express during the hearing. - JRM

Monday, November 27, 2006

COLUMBIA'S BAD ATTITUDE

New York Post

COLUMBIA'S BAD ATTITUDE
By JORDI REYES-MONTBLANC

November 27, 2006 -- COLUMBIA University wants to expand its Morningside Heights campus into the adjacent area of West Manhattanville, damn the torpedoes. Well, torpedoes is exactly what the university's trustees will find if they attempt to shove their views down the throats of area residents.

Columbia is a great institution, with a genuine need to expand - but it should have a better understanding of and empathy for the surrounding community.

For almost 20 years, our community - represented by Community Board 9 Manhattan (CB9) - worked, with input from Columbia, among many others, to develop a plan that gives form and substance to our diverse community's desires. This plan would allow Columbia to expand but without displacing other successful elements of the community. The quality of life would be enhanced for the whole of the CB9M district, which runs from West 110th Street to West 155th Street and from roughly St. Nicholas Avenue to the Hudson River, including our three historic neighborhoods of Morningside Heights, Manhattanville and Hamilton Heights.

But now Columbia's seeking to overturn that plan. It has targeted 17 acres for its expansion - but it has not been able to buy every property. So the university has gone to the Empire State Economic Development Corp. and paid $300,000 to produce a blight study. The plain intent is to paint a grim picture that will lead to condemnation, the exercise of eminent domain and the conveying of all properties within the 17-acre area to the university. All but three buildings in the parcel would be torn down. (The university also has requested the rezoning of another 18 acres in the area, a move that residents suspect would lead to even more expansion down the road.)

Within the 17 targeted acres are a number of apartment buildings and many small businesses, which employ more than 1,100 people - mostly district residents now threatened with loss and displacement.

Families that have run businesses in West Manhattanville for generations are now subject to pressure to sell - pressure so strong that many call it harassment. Some have already sold out - fearing that they'd wind up with far less if Columbia does get the state to use eminent domain to force sales.

Yet an impartial study would show that the only blight in West Manhattanville is thanks to Columbia. For years, the university has been acquiring properties, then leaving them to stand vacant or underused. Existing businesses in and near those buildings have closed and moved out.

Columbia's heavy-handed tactics and demand for eminent domain have antagonized the community. Residents' best hope now is that the public-review process will be independent of any political influences Columbia can bring into play. Any possible changes to CB9's original plan will go through the same open, public and participatory deliberations used to create the plan.

Columbia has stated that it wants a "partnership with the community." The community would welcome a partnership of equals. We will not be a minority partner and even less a silent partner. We shall be equal partners or no partners at all.

Jordi Reyes-Montblanc is chairman of Community Board 9 Manhattan.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

CB9M Hearing on PS 36


CB9M


ATTENTION PARENT’S…
Community Board 9 Manhattan

Committee
On
Youth, Education and Libraries

Will Hold…
A Hearing on P.S. 36

Day/Date: Wednesday, December 6, 2006
Time: 6:30 P.M.
Place: Community Board 9 Manhattan
565 West 125th Street
New York, NY 10027


We will Inquire:
Why the most important stakeholders -- the parents and staff of P.S. 36 were not consulted?

Why CB9M and officials were not consulted as mandated by City Charter?


*****For More Information Call (212) 864-6200*****

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Columbia’s Move on West Harlem

The New York Times
N.Y./Region Opinions
The City

Columbia’s Move on West Harlem
Published: November 26, 2006

There is no arguing that Columbia University needs to expand beyond the space it has occupied in the Morningside Heights section of Manhattan for the last century. An expansion of the campus is critical for the university to fulfill its academic mission and remain a major generator of research, intellectual capital and employment for the city and state.

Yet the school is facing a real fight over its plans to build new facilities on 17 acres just to the north in West Harlem, where auto shops and light industry predominate. Residents are raising valid questions about what Columbia will take from — and be willing to give to — the neighborhood.

The plan must go through the usual official procedures with the local Community Board, the City Planning Commission, the City Council and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. On balance it seems generally sound.

It would provide Columbia with new quarters for its business school, new laboratories and an arts and culture center. And it’s not all raze-and-build; three significant buildings, including the old Studebaker auto plant, are being preserved and will be put to use.

The designer, Renzo Piano (the architect of the New York Times’ new headquarters), sought to maximize green space, including parks and walkways, which the school says would be open to the public. Construction could begin as early as the fall of 2008, with a targeted completion of 2030.

Development of this size in New York is rare. Land is at a premium, and that makes it a battleground of competing interests. As expected, a few business owners are holding out, refusing to sell their property for razing. That, in turn, raises the real prospect of eminent domain — a touchy subject, especially in largely minority neighborhoods.

Columbia could have helped its plan along and assuaged many fears if it had included an affordable housing component in its plan. The school has committed to relocating everyone who lives in the expansion zone, which amounts to about 130 units. But the development will certainly raise real estate values in adjacent neighborhoods in Harlem, where escalating prices have already chased out many longtime residents.

The school seems to be waiting to include affordable housing as a component of a community benefits agreement that it will negotiate with a selected group of local leaders. Harlem residents will want to know how many units the agreement entails, and how far away from the Columbia expansion they will be built.

The rich history of Harlem is something that Columbia should work harder to show it understands and respects, especially in the face of enormous change that is understandably difficult for the community to absorb and accept. The school has in many ways been a good neighbor, a force in providing health care and educational opportunities at all levels. But it could earn some important good will if it ceases referring to the expansion zone as Manhattanville, an archaic name that appears to conjure up a rejection of all that West Harlem is.

Columbia’s president, Lee Bollinger, who fought to preserve affirmative action when he led the University of Michigan, has said that he wants the school to feel a part of its new community. Producing a solid community benefits package that includes housing, employment opportunities and a full embrace of Harlem — beginning with its proper name — would be a good way to start.



A Reply From:

From: Erikeith@aol.com
Date: Mon, 4 Dec 2006 19:35:46 EST
Subject: FYI: re NYT's Sunday, Nov 26 Editorial on "West Harlem" v. "Manhattanville"
To: reysmont@yahoo.com

Jordi:
Just as an fyi or for the CB9 files, I'm forwarding you my letter of last week to the Times. The paper chose not to print it.My letter was in response to the Sunday, City Section, editorial, which suggested Columbia stop using the name Manhattanville in favor of "its proper name", West Harlem. I believe it's a specious argument. Regardless of whatever else Columbia is doing in this scheme of things, its use of the place-name Manhattanville is historically correct. It would have been just as correct had CU decided to identify its expansion zone as West Harlem, albeit not as precise.

Best,Eric

Eric K. Washington
http://www.ericKwashington.com


27 November 2006

The Editor
The City / The New York Times
229 West 43rd Street
New York, NY 10036
region@nytimes.com


To the Editor:

While it’s worth emphasizing that “The rich history of Harlem is something that Columbia should work harder to show it understands and respects” (“Columbia’s Move on West Harlem,” Nov. 26), it’s questionable why it should “earn some important good will if it ceases referring to the expansion zone as Manhattanville.”

Harlem is not monolithic. However Harlem’s complexity is often overshadowed by its name, which is flung over the vastness of upper Manhattan like an ill-fitting painter’s tarp. Sadly, subsidiary place-names are effaced, and with them the telling clues to events, material traditions and legacies that are invaluable to understanding the broader scope of Harlem history.

A case in point is Manhattanville, established two centuries ago in 1806, where Columbia University’s expansion zone is now squarely located. The historic town name recurs quite particularly in records of most of the community’s historic institutions and transportation infrastructures, it is writ across a few façades, and it still identifies the current local Community Board.

While “West Harlem” is adequate as a direction-specific term, it is hardly the area’s “proper name” just by dint of common 20th-century use. And to claim that Manhattanville “conjure[s] up a rejection of all that West Harlem is” seems an odd interpretation of the historic record, where West Harlem mostly is not.



Eric K. Washington
Harlem

The writer is the author of "Manhattanville: Old Heart of West Harlem" (Arcadia)


Another Reply:


Date: Mon, 04 Dec 2006 10:19:08 -0500
To:
From: "Tenant" View Contact Details Add Mobile Alert
Subject: ONCE AGAIN, THE NEW YORK TIMES AND ITS OPINIONS STINK!

Catching up on old email. See my comments interspersed below. This so-called editorial looks as if it was written by Bollinger or Stringer looking for cover and a minimal price to pay.

At 11:46 AM 11/26/2006, you wrote:

http://www.nytimes.com/2006/11/26/opinion/nyregionopinions/CIcolumbia.html?ref=nyregionopinions

The City
Columbia’s Move on West Harlem

Published: November 26, 2006

There is no arguing that Columbia University needs to expand beyond the space it has occupied in the Morningside Heights section of Manhattan for the last century. An expansion of the campus is critical for the university to fulfill its academic mission and remain a major generator of research, intellectual capital and employment for the city and state.

Yet the school is facing a real fight over its plans to build new facilities on 17 acres just to the north in West Harlem, where auto shops and light industry predominate. Residents are raising valid questions about what Columbia will take from — and be willing to give to — the neighborhood.

The plan must go through the usual official procedures with the local Community Board, the City Planning Commission, the City Council and Mayor Michael Bloomberg. On balance it seems generally sound.

It would provide Columbia with new quarters for its business school, new laboratories and an arts and culture center. And it’s not all raze-and-build; three significant buildings, including the old Studebaker auto plant, are being preserved and will be put to use.

The designer, Renzo Piano (the architect of the New York Times’ new headquarters), sought to maximize green space, including parks and walkways, which the school says would be open to the public. Construction could begin as early as the fall of 2008, with a targeted completion of 2030.

Development of this size in New York is rare. Land is at a premium, and that makes it a battleground of competing interests. As expected, a few business owners are holding out, refusing to sell their property for razing. That, in turn, raises the real prospect of eminent domain — a touchy subject, especially in largely minority neighborhoods.

NYT should have acknowledged their participation in eminent domain.

Columbia could have helped its plan along and assuaged many fears if it had included an affordable housing component in its plan.

Read, if they bought off the hacks like Jackson, Stringer and Wright, etc.


The school has committed to relocating everyone who lives in the expansion zone, which amounts to about 130 units. But the development will certainly raise real estate values in adjacent neighborhoods in Harlem, where escalating prices have already chased out many longtime residents.

Good Golly, they admit there will be secondary displacement! So will those chased out exceed what little affordable housing Columbia will eventually provide, if any? Can't count the 130 units in that as that's direct displacement. If there is any inclusionary zoning, that essentially ghettoizes the poor in confining towers.

Here is what you get with inclusionary zoning. See the "Friendly Warning" at (and repeated below):
http://www.apartmentratings.com/rate/NY-New-York-Hudson-Crossing-548812.html
This place is close to me and shows what's happening in Hell's Kitchen. Maybe the person making the comment is the hack from Stringer's Land Use office who lives in Hudson Crossings.



The school seems to be waiting to include affordable housing as a component of a community benefits agreement that it will negotiate with a selected group of local leaders.

Ca-ching ... buying off Scotty Stringer looking for political cover. Community Benefits Agreements is a code word for those who the politicians can control, and who they use to provide justification for selling out.

Good thing CB9 isn't as bad and stupid as CB4 (we hope).


Harlem residents will want to know how many units the agreement entails, and how far away from the Columbia expansion they will be built.

Of course none of this helps the small businesses. Hello Starbucks!


The rich history of Harlem is something that Columbia should work harder to show it understands and respects, especially in the face of enormous change that is understandably difficult for the community to absorb and accept. The school has in many ways been a good neighbor,

They say with a straight face. OTFLOL.


a force in providing health care and educational opportunities at all levels. But it could earn some important good will if it ceases referring to the expansion zone as Manhattanville, an archaic name that appears to conjure up a rejection of all that West Harlem is.

Where is Abby when we need him?


Columbia’s president, Lee Bollinger, who fought to preserve affirmative action when he led the University of Michigan

And Univ. of Michigan took $100 million from Steve Ross of Related Co.


, has said that he wants the school to feel a part of its new community. Producing a solid community benefits package that includes housing, employment opportunities and a full embrace of Harlem — beginning with its proper name — would be a good way to start.



from http://www.apartmentratings.com/rate/NY-New-York-Hudson-Crossing-548812.html

Friendly warning.
From: -Anonymous-
Date posted: 11/4/2006
Years at this apartment: 2006-2006
1 response
Here's a warning to residents & prosepctive residents. 25% of the building is low/moderate income housing. So while you're paying your market rents of $2500-$6000 a month for a studio, 1 bdrm or 2 bdrm, some hoodlums from harlem are paying oh about $700 a month. While you walk in your brand new luxury building with your Banana Republic, Club Monaco or Urban Outfitters bags in tow from a shopping trip, you'll be sharing an elevator with a thug(s) with their stinky $5 chinese & Daffy's bags from their shopping trips. Not to sound like an ---- but I in no way would pay market rent to be surrounded by the likes of people that can only afford the same apt for 70-80% off the cost.


-----------------------------------------------------------------------
The Tenant Network(tm) for Residential Tenants
TenantNet(tm): http://tenant.net
email: tenant@tenant.net
Information from TenantNet is from experienced non-attorney tenant
activists and is not considered legal advice.






NB- The opinions expressed are attribuatable only to the authors of the comments, they do not reflect the opinions of the Chairman, the Officers or the Board Members of CB9M and are provided only for informational purposes. - JRM.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Filming Expanded Horizons

Columbia Spectator
Home > News

Filming Expanded Horizons
By Jimmy Vielkind
Issue date: 11/22/06 Section: News

I first met Leah Yananton in the back corner of a crowded room.It was a chilly winter night in St. Mary's Church, a quaint neo-gothic structure that has stood along what is now 126th Street since 1823, the heart of the old village Manhattanville. The basilica, with its stained glass and time-worn pews, hosts the monthly meetings of the Coalition to Preserve Community, a neighborhood group opposed to Columbia's proposed campus expansion.

Back corners are good places because you can see everything going on in a room, but most people can't see you. It's a good spot to observe and document the unfolding world-me with my note pad, Leah with her video camera-for what's cliched as the first draft of history.

After three years of shooting (we met many times in many back corners), editing, interviewing, and researching, Leah has turned in her draft.

Over 40 people came the Friday before Election Day break to a screening of "Manhattanville: A Neighborhood Under Siege," a 30-minute documentary about the University's proposed expansion, produced in conjunction with former adjunct film professor Larry Engel. The duo is actively seeking more opportunities to screen the film, which was funded by city grants, and plan on entering it into the upcoming Harlem Film Festival.

"I started the film while a student at Columbia while living in the neighborhood," Yananton, GS, said. She told these pages in 2004 that she "wanted to make a time capsule."And she has. The film opens with the annual Christmas party in the lobby of 70 Tiemann Place-where Leah lived until last month-as people dance merengue, play the guira, and eat pollo guisado. They are juxtaposed with historical photographs of Manhattanville and a speech by University President Lee Bollinger to Community Board 9, where he presents details of the planned new campus.

The project reviews the neighborhood's rich past, often contentious present, and murky future. In doing so, Yananton interviews officials on both sides. Senior Columbia administrators outline their visions for a new campus and talk about the benefits it would bring to the neighborhood and the city, while local residents and business owners air their concerns and speak proudly of what they are achieving in the area.

"I thought I was going to be Michael Moore with this film and expose Columbia as a bad guy. But I'm not Michael Moore, and I realized it's not my job as a film maker to attack any one side. I just wanted to make and document the life of the neighborhood and the life I shared with the neighborhood," Yananton said.

The images range from the rhapsodically mundane-children playing on a sidewalk chalked with a political message-to active protests at Columbia's gates and a Tent City constructed in the spring of 2005. The film also features interviews with former Community Board 9 chair Maritta Dunn, Rev. Earl Kooperkamp of St. Mary's Episcopal Church,, Columbia construction coordinator Warren Whitlock, and several business owners in the proposed expansion zone.

By presenting a mosaic of voices normally offered as a cacophony, Yananton is able to clearly articulate the big questions at hand: does Columbia's need to grow, and will the good works it will hopefully accomplish override the rights of people to live lives at their own pace in their own space? Should the two be mutually exclusive? If not, how can they live in harmony with each other? "I didn't want to provide an answer because I don't have an answer," Yananton said.

As Columbia begins to work through the required approval process and negotiations to ensure community benefits from expansion, this documentary is a cogent reminder of the need to respectfully listen to all sides before we stake out our own.

In doing so, hopefully those involved can remember that there is a middle ground. This film should be required viewing for everyone willing to go the extra mile to find it.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Grant Houses Initiates New Recycling Plan

Columbia Spectator
Home > News

Grant Houses Initiates New Recycling Plan
Program to Place Bins at Entrance of Building
By Sadia Latifi
Issue date: 11/22/06 Section: News


Bright blue and green bins were placed outside 3150 Broadway on La Salle Street on Tuesday, marking a renewed effort to increase residential recycling in the city.

A ribbon-cutting ceremony was held Tuesday outside the building, part of the New York City Housing Authority's Grant Houses development, to launch a new recycling campaign in Morningside Heights and West Harlem. This initiative marks NYCHA's first attempt to standardize recycling programs in its public housing developments.

3150 Broadway is hosting the pilot program, which includes installing recycling bins outside the entrance of the building and educating tenants about the program. The Morningside Heights/West Harlem Sanitation Coalition has spent the last six weeks holding workshops on every floor of the building.

"This is the kickoff. If it works here, we'll take it to the rest of the developments in the city," said Gloria Allen, vice president of the Grant Houses residents' association.

The response has been mixed. Joan Levine, co-chair of the Sanitation Coalition, said that tenants at 3150 were not entirely receptive but that there are "lots of people who are knowledgeable and eager to do the right thing."

If the program succeeds, more recycling bins will be placed throughout the other buildings in the Grant Houses development. Both Levine and Sarah Martin, president of the residents' association of Grant Houses, said that they wanted to push to make sure all NYCHA housing developments eventually have bins installed.

"We're hoping, with education and a little bit of hoopla, we'll get people interested," said Levine. "We were struck by the fact that the city doesn't really do anything."

Levine added that in addition to decreasing the amount of waste in landfills, recycling would be especially important in reducing air pollution in West Harlem, which has a high rate of asthma cases.

"This is a win-win situation. We recycle more to waste less," said City Councilman Robert Jackson (D-Washington Heights).Both state assemblyman Danny O'Donnell and newly elected State Senator Bill Perkins (D-Harlem) briefly expressed their support.

"Your health is your wealth," Perkins said.Currently 16 percent of the city's residential waste is being recycled, according to the Department of Sanitation. The department's figures state that it costs the city $263 per ton to dispose of garbage and $343 per ton to recycle.

A new city department, the Office of Recycling Outreach and Education, will open in January 2007, according to the City Council's Sanitation Committee. The department will work with an approximated $7 million budget to teach New Yorkers about proper recycling and to help sell recycled goods.

Parents Share P.S. 36 Concerns - Officials Hear Grievances About Temporary Location of Magnet School

Columbia Spectator
Home > News

Parents Share P.S. 36 Concerns
Officials Hear Grievances About Temporary Location of Magnet School

By Erin Durkin
Issue date: 11/22/06 Section: News


Media Credit: Isabelle Mills-Tannenbaum

Parents confronted Department of Education officials Tuesday night regarding their plan to temporarily locate a Columbia-sponsored secondary school at P.S. 36, an early childhood school on Morningside Drive.

Columbia Secondary School for Math, Science and Engineering, a public magnet school to be run collaboratively by Columbia and the DOE, is scheduled to open next fall at P.S. 36 but is slated eventually to be located in its own building on the University's proposed Manhattanville campus.

The department hopes to house the school at P.S. 36 until the new building is ready, but parents have objected to the plan because they say it will cause overcrowding, and that mixing middle-school students with children as young as three years old may be unsafe.

Tuesday night's meeting, which drew over 100 people and several elected officials, often grew heated.

"You really think you're going to be able to secure safety for my six-year-old with a fifteen-year-old running around?" asked Cedric Flemming, father of a first grader. "That is the fault of DOE wanting to pile us on top of each other, treating us like animals. You aren't doing it below 96th Street."

"The kids that you are talking about in this junior high and high school are our kids. They are Harlem kids," responded Terence Tolbert, the department's executive director for intergovernmental affairs.

Visibly frustrated, he added, "I would love for people to stop talking about our kids like they don't deserve better.

"DOE officials emphasized that they are still in the preliminary stages of planning the school's location. "We're not considering this a done deal," said Robert Lesser of DOE's office of new schools.

"We want to see if we can make it work," said Jemina Bernard, also of the new schools' office. "If it's not feasible, we'll have to come up with another plan."

Many attendees were skeptical, pressing for details on what other locations the department was considering and how willing it was to back off the P.S. 36 plan.

"When you came to our school, you told our union rep that this was a done deal," said first-grade teacher Claudia Aybar. "In case this doesn't work out, do you have a plan B school? Do you have a plan C? Do you have alternatives?"

"We aren't in a position to discuss that," Bernard said. Tolbert added that a possible alternative would be "not to open the school at all."

Hyacinth Meyers, vice president of P.S. 36's parent association, said this option was not what the parents were looking for. "The school is a great opportunity for all children," she said. "Great school, great idea-take it somewhere else."

After the meeting, Bernard clarified that P.S. 36 "appears to be the best possible option," and that DOE is not actively considering any other locations at this time, though it hasn't ruled out the possibility. She said that not opening the school this fall is not being seriously considered.

"It's always an alternative," she said. "It's certainly not anything that we want."Bernard said that the department expected Columbia Secondary to remain at P.S. 36 for two to three years, but said, "What we're not going to agree to is any sort of written agreement about time frame."

In response to concerns about the safety of mixing the two populations, she said, "We would look very very closely to make sure that there are distinct points of entry for the particular schools."

"I am totally convinced of two things," state senator-elect Bill Perkins told the crowd. "That the Department of Education does not respect you ... and that you are absolutely right."

Department officials repeatedly stated that they were responsible for decisions about when to open the school and where to put its interim location, and that Columbia played no role. But Perkins said after the meeting that he did not believe this was true.

"This is Columbia's idea," he said. "Columbia's a bully. ... This is just another example of Columbia's inability to be a good neighbor, where the community has to push back to get them to act right."

Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, Assemblyman Keith Wright, and Councilman Robert Jackson also attended the meeting.

Jackson, who is chairman of the city council's education committee and has voiced his support for the magnet school in the past, said that while he had not made a final decision about the appropriateness of the school's location, it was "absolutely wrong" that parents had not been consulted. "If I had children in this school, I would be exactly where you are right now," he said.

On the conduct of the DOE officials at the meeting, Perkins said: "They were not forthcoming. They were obfuscating ... They were arrogant, and they were impatient." He said this was typical of the DOE's attitudes toward parents. "All you've seen is this mayor [Mayor Michael Bloomberg] and this chancellor [Chancellor of New York City Department of Education Joel Klein] trampling on the rights of parents," he added.

Perkins said that he thought the intense opposition would force the department to budge. "I don't think the school's coming here," he said.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

'SCHOOL SQUEEZE' PROTEST

New York Post

'SCHOOL SQUEEZE' PROTEST
By DAVID ANDREATTA

November 22, 2006 -- A city plan to squeeze a new elite magnet school into a Harlem building already housing an elementary school got a boisterous thumbs-down last night from parents and politicians, who claim they were blindsided by news of the project.

Dozens of parents of students at PS 36 demonstrated outside the building, at Morningside and Amsterdam avenues, against a school to be run in conjunction with Columbia University beginning next fall.

The school would eventually serve grades 6-12 and focus on math and science.
Parents at PS 36, which serves 550 students in pre-kindergarten through second grade, said they got no advance notice.

At a meeting with Department of Education officials following the protest, parents voiced concerns about safety, overcrowding and the agency's refusal to commit to its own projected timetable to move the Columbia school to a new location in two to three years.

"Raise your voices, call everyone you know, e-mail everyone you know to let them know we do not want a middle school in PS 36," said Hyacinth Myers, vice president of the PS 36 PTA, to resounding applause.

A defiant PTA president Kim Wynn promised to "petition, protest, do whatever we can to keep them out."

While the Columbia Secondary School for Math, Science and Education is designed to compete with the likes of Stuyvesant and Bronx Science high schools and draw students from across the city, DOE officials said it would primarily serve black and Latino students from upper Manhattan.

Elected officials, including Manhattan Borough President Scott Stringer, attended the protest.
david.andreatta@nypost.com

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Nine states Passed Ballot Initiaivesto Restrict the Use of Eminent Domain

Date: Tue, 21 Nov 2006 13:16:23 -0800 (PST)
From: "Anne Z. Whitman"
Subject: Fwd: FW: The Angle - November 20, 2006
To: "Jordi Reyes Montblanc"











VOLUME 4 ISSUE 27 November 20, 2006


Federal Agency Report
HUD Affirms Design Fees Can Be Included in Mortgages
FEMA Director Expresses Support for Good Samaritan Legislation

State and Local Update
New Governors Support AIA Values
Mixed Results for Eminent Domain, Land-use Ballot Proposals

Political Action
Friend of AIA Colorado Elected to Congress

Federal Agency Report

HUD Affirms Design Fees Can Be Included in Mortgages

The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development has said that architects’ fees may be included in Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-insured mortgages.

The AIA, primarily through its Small Project Practitioners Knowledge Community, has been working to make architectural design services more broadly available to the middle class. In a letter to HUD, the AIA Government Advocacy team wrote, “A major barrier to providing such services on new single family homes is that the cost of design often matches or exceeds the equity requirement for the loan . . . The AIA believes that design fees, including services by architects and their supporting engineers and consultants, should be amortized in the mortgage.”

In response, Margaret E. Burns, director of the Office of Single Family Program Development, wrote to the AIA that “While [HUD’s] guidance does not explicitly allow for the inclusion of design fees for new construction (including services by architects and their supporting engineers and consultants), it is not adverse to such a fee being included in the cost of acquisition, similar to how the contractor’s price to build is now included.”

According to Andrew Goldberg, Assoc. AIA, manager of AIA federal regulatory affairs, “HUD’s position means that more Americans will now have access to architectural services than ever before. By stating that design fees should be treated similarly to construction costs, HUD is affirming the view that high-quality design is an integral and necessary part of homeownership.”

The AIA plans to work with HUD and the banking community to ensure that prospective homeowners and lenders understand that design fees can be included in mortgages.
FEMA Director Expresses Support for Good Samaritan LegislationR. David Paulison, director of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), expressed his personal support for legislation that would provide architects with qualified immunity from liability for negligence when providing volunteer services in response to a natural or man-made disaster.
R. David Paulison (FEMA/Bill Kopwitz).

Architects who volunteer their services after disasters like hurricanes, earthquakes, and tornadoes face the risk of liability and higher insurance premiums in states that lack so-called “Good Samaritan” legislation. Several members of Congress have expressed a desire to introduce a national “Good Sam” bill when the new Congress convenes next January.

Speaking at a breakfast sponsored by the Infrastructure Security Partnership (TISP) in Washington, Paulison was asked by an AIA staff member whether the Bush administration would support Good Sam legislation. Paulison responded that, although he could not speak directly for the president on the issue, “I am personally supportive of Good Samaritan legislation.”

Paulison added that a top priority for FEMA in 2007 will be strengthening public-private partnerships that enable the government to put contracts and plans in place before a disaster happens, so they do not have to scramble for support afterward, a problem that plagued FEMA in the wake of last year’s Hurricane Katrina.

“The fact that the director of FEMA believes that Good Samaritan legislation is a worthy idea shows the necessity of passing it on a national level,” says Paul Mendelsohn, vice president, AIA Government and Community Relations. “Architects are ready and willing to assist after disasters but need Good Sam to protect them from liability.

Hopefully, Director Paulison’s support will help convince Congress to address this in 2007.”

The AIA is a member of TISP, which was formed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks to help address protection of the nation’s critical infrastructure from man-made and natural threats.

State and Local Update
New Governors Support AIA Valuesby Billie Kaumaya, manager, State and Local Affairs

With the election of 36 new governors on November 7, the states are shaping up to be a key arena where AIA members can pursue legislation that benefits practice and heightens public awareness of the profession. The gubernatorial election results seem to bode well for architects, as many of the newly elected officials of both parties share a vision of a more sustainable future and a commitment to other AIA priorities.Sustainability: If campaign promises hold true, the election represents an excellent opportunity for architects to advocate for the AIA’s goal of dramatically increasing the number of high-performance buildings constructed in the coming decades.

Eliot Spitzer (D), the governor-elect from New York, says he plans to create a statewide, comprehensive energy strategy that includes initiatives to conserve energy and expand the use of renewable fuels.

The incoming governor of Ohio, Ted Strickland (D), also has plans to overhaul the state’s energy policies. Strickland would like to make Ohio a leader in alternative energy production and, in an effort to make every state building as energy-efficient as possible, plans to conduct a statewide energy audit in his first 60 days.

Governor-elect Bill Ritter (D) of Colorado has proposed a seven-point plan to establish a new energy economy, which includes strict energy efficiency requirements for state buildings.
Alternative fuels also seem to be a hot-button issue, as Deval Patrick (D) of Massachusetts, Mike Beebe (D) of Arkansas, and Chet Culver (D) of Iowa have all expressed their support of renewable energy.

Development: The only gubernatorial candidate to beat an incumbent governor was Baltimore Mayor Martin O’Malley (D). O’Malley strongly supports community development, and as mayor, brought in over $7 billion in development to his city. He has vowed to carry these same principles into his work as governor. Arkansas will also see expanded development as Beebe has proposed a $40-$50 million quick action fund for economic development.

Eminent domain: With nine states passing ballot initiatives to restrict the use of eminent domain and three more rejecting such measures, nearly all of the newly elected governors have expressed strong positions on the issue. Charlie Crist (R) of Florida has a solid history supporting private property rights and would like to see stronger legal protections for private purposes. Governors-elect from Idaho and Nevada have also gone on record as opposing eminent domain, while other officials have taken a more middle-of-the-road stance on this controversial topic. Ohio’s Strickland, who has said that he opposes eminent domain, indicated he would support it if there is an evident public need, while New York’s Spitzer has made it clear that, although he supports the concept of eminent domain, he believes that each case should be addressed individually.

Mixed Results for Eminent Domain, Land-use Ballot ProposalsSupporters of eminent domain faced setbacks coast to coast in the November 2006 elections, with nine states passing measures to ban or restrict the use of eminent domain for private projects. All of these measures passed by a significant margin, with many receiving more than 80 percent approval. Only in California, where eminent domain advocates outspent their opponents 4-to-1, and in Idaho did voters reject such restrictions.

A Washington State measure that would have required compensation for some private property owners was unsuccessful, while voters in Arizona approved an eminent domain measure including compensation for regulatory takings. Plans to instate similar measures on the ballot in 2008 are already underway.

State
Ballot Initiative
Summary
Passed/Failed

Arizona
Proposition 207
Prohibits eminent domain for private projects. Requires compensation for regulatory takings.
Passed

California
Proposition 90
Prohibits eminent domain for private projects. Requires compensation for regulatory takings.
Failed

Florida
Amendment 8
Restricts the use of eminent domain for private projects.
Passed

Georgia
Amendment 1
Restricts the use of eminent domain for private projects.
Passed

Idaho
Proposition 2
Restricts the use of eminent domain for private projects. Requires compensation for regulatory takings.
Failed

Michigan
Proposal 4
Restricts the use of eminent domain for private projects.
Passed

Montana
Initiative 154
Restricts eminent domain for private purposes. Requires compensation for regulatory takings.
Initiative removed from the ballot by the Supreme Court

Nevada
Question 2
Restricts the use of eminent domain for private projects.
Passed

New Hampshire
Amendment 1
Restricts the use of eminent domain for private projects.
Passed

North Dakota
Amendment 2
Restricts the use of eminent domain for private projects.
Passed

Oregon
Measure 39
Restricts the use of eminent domain for private projects.
Passed

South Carolina
Amendment 5
Restricts the use of eminent domain for private projects.
Passed
Land-use, housing issuesLand-use issues continue to resonate nationwide, but support for open-space preservation in Arizona proved not as fervent, where two propositions, 105 and 106, failed by sizeable margins.Low-income and affordable housing bond initiatives fared better in California and Rhode Island. New Mexican voters endorsed a measure allowing state and local governments to finance all aspects of housing developments. Virginians also supported development by approving tax breaks for new structures in conservation, redevelopment, and rehabilitation areas.This was a tough election for ballot measures and initiatives, notes Billie Kaumaya, manager, AIA State and Local Issues and Programs. From 1994 to 2004, about half of ballot measures have passed, while voters approved only approximately a third November 7.

“Voters appeared to less likely to follow recent political trends with regard to ballot measures and initiatives,” Kaumaya said. “I suspect we will be dealing with many of these same issues during the next election cycle.”

Political Action

Friend of AIA Colorado Elected to Congress
When the new Congress convenes in January, Ed Perlmutter (D) will become the new representative for Colorado’s 7th congressional district. Perlmutter’s election is a major victory for the AIA, as Perlmutter has been a long-time advocate for issues important to architects.

During his tenure in the Colorado Senate, Perlmutter received the AIA Colorado award for “Colorado Legislator of the Year.” He also served as chair of the Renewable Energy Caucus and championed legislation promoting smart growth and design.

From the beginning of Perlmutter’s campaign, AIA Colorado strongly supported him, hosting a fundraiser for him in February 2006. ArchiPAC, the AIA’s federal political action committee, provided support for his campaign throughout the primary and general election, and after his victory, staff from AIA national attended a welcome reception for Perlmutter in Washington, D.C. There, he expressed his gratitude for AIA’s support, noting that the AIA was “with him since the beginning.” He said he looks forward to continuing his strong relationship with AIA Colorado and now developing an equally productive one with AIA national.

The AngleThe Angle is published by the AIA Government Advocacy Team, 1735 New York Ave., NW, Washington DC, 20006. To contact The Angle, send an email to angle@aia.org.

Archive
November 9, 2006
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September 21, 2006
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August 24, 2006
August 10, 2006
June 27, 2006
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June 29, 2006
June 15, 2006
June 5, 2006
May 25, 2006
May 22, 2006
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April 27, 2006
April 13, 2006
March 30, 2006
March 16, 2006



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The AIA strives to provide information that is most relevant to you.

The Trustees of Columbia University

NB -
For those in the Community that wish to know who are the Trustees of Columbia Unversity. These are the people who make the decisions of who, what when and how Colubmia University is to act and who establish the policies of the University. - JRM














Overall governance of the University lies in the hands of its 24-member Board of Trustees. The Trustees select the President, oversee all faculty and senior administrative appointments, monitor the budget, supervise the endowment, and protect University property.
[ Governing Documents Background Information ]


Lee C. Bollinger (President of the University)
José Cabranes
William V. Campbell, Chair
Stephen Case
Patricia M. Cloherty
Kenneth Forde
Ellen Oran Kaden
Ann F. Kaplan
Mark E. Kingdon
Marilyn Laurie, Vice Chair
Gerry Lenfest

Philip Milstein, Vice Chair
Vikram Pandit
Michael Patterson, Vice Chair
Michael B. Rothfeld
Joan Spero
Esta Stecher
Kyriakos Tsakopoulos
Savio Tung
Faye Wattleton
Richard Witten, Vice Chair
Clyde Wu

Trustees: Governing Documents Background Information Trustees Emeriti
[ Main Page Office of the Secretary The Trustees ]

Monday, November 20, 2006

In West Harlem Land Dispute, It’s Columbia vs. Residents

In West Harlem Land Dispute,
It’s Columbia vs. Residents


Tyler Hicks/The New York Times
Columbia University is planning to expand its campus on 17 acres of land along

the Hudson River, from 125th Street to 133rd Street.


By TIMOTHY WILLIAMS
Published: November 20, 2006

When Columbia University announced plans three years ago to expand by building on 17 acres in West Harlem, the university stressed that it would work with its neighbors rather than risk stirring up long-held animosities.

Skip to next paragraph

Multimedia
Map
Columbia University's Expansion Plan

Blogs
The Empire Zone
Coverage of politics in New York,
New Jersey and Connecticut.


G. Paul Burnett/The New York Times
Jordi Reyes-Montblanc, chairman of
the local community board, says
Columbia University has done little to
gain residents’ trust.

But before the release of an environmental report for the $7 billion project, opponents say Columbia has antagonized Harlem residents by insisting that it has the right to seek eminent domain to force property owners out.

“On a scale of 1 to 10, Columbia is a minus 5 in terms of trust,” said Jordi Reyes-Montblanc, chairman of the local community board. “I honestly believe that Columbia has made a tremendous effort to overcome its history, but in the process, they’ve made so many snafus that it hasn’t really helped them.”

In recent months, the misunderstandings have only intensified.

Last week, for example, as Columbia and the city Department of Education worked to complete plans for a new public school in the neighborhood with an emphasis on math and science, parents held a demonstration, saying that the school’s proposed temporary location at an existing public school would be disruptive. Columbia is helping the school establish a curriculum, and the final home of the school will be on Columbia-owned property.
Columbia, however, said it had nothing to do with choosing the temporary site.

And during the past several weeks, some residents have become incensed as inspectors hired by the state have surveyed the neighborhood as part of a study to determine if the area should be considered blighted, a finding that could allow the state to use eminent domain to acquire property for the expansion.

With big demographic and economic changes occurring in Harlem as a backdrop, each side sees the expansion as critical to its future. For Columbia, it would allow an elite but cramped university to build additional academic and residential buildings, including new facilities for its arts and business schools and dozens of modern science research labs it needs to keep pace with other Ivy League universities.

Harvard University, for example, is seeking a new campus on 200 acres in Boston, and the University of Pennsylvania plans to expand on 40 acres in Philadelphia.

But for residents of West Harlem, Columbia’s expansion threatens the survival of their neighborhood. Columbia has already bought 65 percent of the properties in the area, and if the project is approved, all but three buildings in the 17-acre tract would be razed.

The low-rise neighborhood of apartment buildings, warehouses and auto-repair shops would be replaced by a cityscape designed by Renzo Piano and Skidmore, Owings & Merrill, in which glass-walled buildings would rise as high as 25 stories. (Mr. Piano also designed a new headquarters for The New York Times.) Because of the project’s potential to drive up nearby property values, many in the neighborhood say they fear widespread displacement if the necessary rezoning for the campus is approved, which could happen as early as next summer.

While university officials play down the simmering tension, longtime residents say the relationship between campus and community is at its most fraught since 1968.

That year, violent protests erupted after the university proposed building a university gymnasium in Morningside Park with separate entrances for students and residents of the predominantly poor, African-American neighborhood.

The two sides are at such odds that they cannot even agree on a name for the area: The university calls it Manhattanville, while most residents refer to it as West Harlem.

“I was real hopeful at the beginning of the process, but over the last few years things have really broken down,” said the Rev. Earl Kooperkamp, rector at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church.

Lee C. Bollinger, president of Columbia, and a law school student there in 1968, said the university had come a long way since the 1960s. The new campus, he said, would benefit both the university and the neighborhood.

“Everybody who lives there will be better off,” he said last summer. “Everyone is pleased with the way Columbia has dealt with them.”

The new campus, which would be built over 25 years on a narrow strip of land parallel to the Hudson River, from 125th Street to 133rd Street, would be among the largest developments in recent city history. It would also be Columbia’s largest expansion since it moved from Midtown Manhattan to Morningside Heights in 1897.

The first of two construction phases for the campus would be completed by 2015 and include the new science, arts and business buildings.

Plans for the second stage are less clear, but could include new dormitories and academic buildings, as well as swimming and diving pools. In all, the campus would have 17 new buildings.

West Harlem residents say they are not opposed to Columbia’s expansion, but have a competing plan that emphasizes building more affordable housing and retaining the area’s light industry.
Columbia’s proposal does not include affordable housing and would eliminate all of the light industry.

Since the Industrial Revolution, the area has been dominated by industry — in the mid-19th century it had a mill and a brewery, and later, the neighborhood contained dairy and automobile plants, including an old Studebaker factory, which Columbia plans to preserve.

Currently, meat packing plants, car repair shops, moving and storage warehouses, and a Metropolitan Transportation Authority bus depot are on the site. About 400 people also live in apartment buildings there.

Columbia has said it intends to pay their relocation costs if the area is rezoned and it is allowed to start its expansion project.

Though the university has been buying property in the area for years, several large commercial landowners have refused to sell. In response, Columbia has said it might seek to have eminent domain invoked.

That prospect has caused alarm in the area, where opposition to eminent domain runs deep among many African-Americans because it was used for urban renewal projects in the 1960s that demolished entire neighborhoods and replaced them with public housing towers.

“Any neighborhood wants to see improvements, but not at the risk of people being driven out,” said Nellie Bailey, executive director of the Harlem Tenants Council.
But Mr. Bollinger said the issue is not negotiable.

“I would be irresponsible as president of Columbia to give up eminent domain,” he said. “We have done nothing to initiate eminent domain, and I hope not to have to use eminent domain.”
However, he added, “We should be prepared to use it.”

To that end, in a 2004 letter to the Empire State Development Corporation, Columbia asked the state agency to “consider the condemnation of portions of the property not under Columbia control.”

The community board has signaled its discontent by voting unanimously to oppose the use of eminent domain, and several members have said they will oppose the project unless Columbia pledges not to seek those powers.

While the board’s role is only advisory, the expansion’s rejection by the panel would probably weigh heavily on the City Planning Commission and the City Council, which must approve the project.

Anne Z. Whitman, the owner of Hudson Moving and Storage, said Columbia had offered $4 million for her six-story, 35,000-square-foot building — though she has repeatedly told the university she has no plans to move.

Ms. Whitman believes the university will eventually try to condemn her building through eminent domain.

In a 2004 letter to Ms. Whitman, the university said it would be “impossible” for her business to remain, given Columbia’s expansion plans.

“No way Columbia is going to steal this property right out from underneath me,” she said. “Remember that man who stood in front of the tank at Tiananmen Square? That’s me.”

Nicholas Sprayregen, president of Tuck-It-Away Self-Storage, is the largest property owner in the area with five buildings and almost 300,000 square feet of space. He said he has spent several hundred thousand dollars fighting Columbia and is willing to spend more.
He has hired Norman Siegel, a civil rights lawyer, and has pledged to take the case to the United States Supreme Court if Columbia seeks to use eminent domain.

“No one is saying to Columbia, ‘You can’t have a campus here,’ ” he said. “They say they have to have everything and they won’t give a reason why — because there is no reason.”
Mr. Bollinger said the university is seeking ownership of the entire 17 acres because it wants a contiguous campus.

Other university officials said that once they sign a community benefits agreement with West Harlem, much of the opposition will dissipate.

This fall, the community board organized a local development corporation to conduct negotiations with Columbia for a benefits package.

The eventual agreement could include items like establishing a fund to prevent displacement because of rising rents or building an asthma clinic.

But opponents said a benefits package would not resolve several points of disagreement with Columbia, including the possibility of hazardous chemical and biological research and animal testing at the proposed science laboratories.

While Columbia has said the expansion would create 7,000 jobs, Mr. Reyes-Montblanc, the chairman of the community board, said he was skeptical about the sort of employment that would be offered.

“Most of the people in our community do not come close to the requirements for lab jobs,” he said. “What’s left are less desirable types of work, like janitorial jobs.”
Columbia officials said that the university would do what it could to help meet West Harlem’s needs, but said that there were limits to what it could do.

“We’ve got to make sure we do the right thing,” said Robert Kasdin, a senior executive vice president at the university, who is overseeing the expansion. “And whatever we do, we will be subject to criticism because we can’t fix the underlying problems.”

Saturday, November 18, 2006

CB9M Opposes Plans for P.S. 36

Columbia Spectator

Home > News

CB9M Opposes Plans for P.S. 36
Meeting Addresses Assemblyman Demotion, Magnet School

By Jacob Schneider
Issue date: 11/17/06 Section: News



Assemblyman Keith Wright said his
dismissal from the HCDC was an act
of "pure retaliation" by Governor
George Pataki.

The discussion at Thursday night's Community Board 9 meeting centered around a recently announced plan to locate a Columbia-sponsored magnet school at a Harlem elementary school, procedural changes on the Local Development Board, and the demotion of one local politician.

The planned placement of the Columbia Secondary School for Math, Science, and Engineering in P.S. 36, a pre-K to second-grade school on Morningside Drive, drew fire from elected officials and CB9 members. Local residents took issue with the fact that the project would put young elementary school students in the same building as secondary school students and complained that the community was not consulted before the decision.

Assemblyman Keith Wright, D-Harlem, said he was "opposed to the move because economically it doesn't make sense," arguing that money would be wasted on renovations to accommodate the middle school students who would only be there temporarily."There's no way this could have happened if Columbia hadn't been talking to the Board of Education," said Tom Demott, anti-expansion activist and leader of the Coalition to Preserve Community.

"The Columbia high school is not intended for children in CB9," Jordi Reyes-Montblanc, CB9 chair, said. "We certainly want a math and science school, but we want our children to benefit."CB9 member Keith Mitchell arrived late at the meeting from discussing the plan with Dennis Walcott, deputy mayor for education and community development, who he described as "sympathetic."

Wright announced before the board that he was removed by outgoing Governor George Pataki as chair of the Harlem Community Development Corporation three weeks ago, citing what he believed were political motives."I was dismissed out of pure retaliation," said Wright, arguing that Pataki took issue with his support of two local candidates for a hotel development project in Harlem.

"The Pataki administration wanted HCDC to pick an outfit called Apollo, but we did not choose them because we want as much participation from the community as possible," he said.Though Wright said that he expects to be reappointed by Governor-elect Eliot Spitzer when Spitzer takes office in January, he called the corporation, which recently came under the leadership of President Keith Wofford, "woeful."

The board also discussed the decision by the Local Development Corporation, a group formed to negotiate a community-benefits agreement with Columbia, to open meetings to the public but not allow a public-speaking period, which one member attributed to the clout of elected officials on the board of the corporation."They have their ways of influencing people and they vote as a bloc," said Demott, who also serves on the LDC.

The board also nominated officer candidates for next year: Reyes-Montblanc for chair, Carolyn Thompson and Pat Jones for vice chairs, Ted Kovaleff for secretary, Ramona Jennett for assistant secretary, Barbara Marshall for treasurer, and Yvonne Stennett for assistant treasurer-all of whom already hold these positions.

In addition, members nominated Vicky Gholson for vice chair, Michael Palma for treasurer, and Martha Norrick, BC '07, for secretary.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Columbia Spectator

Home > News

CB9 Opposes Plans for P.S. 36
Meeting Addresses Assemblyman Demotion, Magnet School

By Jacob Schneider
Issue date: 11/17/06 Section: News



Assemblyman Keith Wright said his
dismissal from the HCDC was an act
of "pure retaliation" by Governor
George Pataki.

The discussion at Thursday night's Community Board 9 meeting centered around a recently announced plan to locate a Columbia-sponsored magnet school at a Harlem elementary school, procedural changes on the Local Development Board, and the demotion of one local politician.

The planned placement of the Columbia Secondary School for Math, Science, and Engineering in P.S. 36, a pre-K to second-grade school on Morningside Drive, drew fire from elected officials and CB9 members. Local residents took issue with the fact that the project would put young elementary school students in the same building as secondary school students and complained that the community was not consulted before the decision.

Assemblyman Keith Wright, D-Harlem, said he was "opposed to the move because economically it doesn't make sense," arguing that money would be wasted on renovations to accommodate the middle school students who would only be there temporarily."There's no way this could have happened if Columbia hadn't been talking to the Board of Education," said Tom Demott, anti-expansion activist and leader of the Coalition to Preserve Community.

"The Columbia high school is not intended for children in CB9," Jordi Reyes-Montblanc, CB9 chair, said. "We certainly want a math and science school, but we want our children to benefit."CB9 member Keith Mitchell arrived late at the meeting from discussing the plan with Dennis Walcott, deputy mayor for education and community development, who he described as "sympathetic."

Wright announced before the board that he was removed by outgoing Governor George Pataki as chair of the Harlem Community Development Corporation three weeks ago, citing what he believed were political motives."I was dismissed out of pure retaliation," said Wright, arguing that Pataki took issue with his support of two local candidates for a hotel development project in Harlem.

"The Pataki administration wanted HCDC to pick an outfit called Apollo, but we did not choose them because we want as much participation from the community as possible," he said.Though Wright said that he expects to be reappointed by Governor-elect Eliot Spitzer when Spitzer takes office in January, he called the corporation, which recently came under the leadership of President Keith Wofford, "woeful."

The board also discussed the decision by the Local Development Corporation, a group formed to negotiate a community-benefits agreement with Columbia, to open meetings to the public but not allow a public-speaking period, which one member attributed to the clout of elected officials on the board of the corporation."They have their ways of influencing people and they vote as a bloc," said Demott, who also serves on the LDC.

The board also nominated officer candidates for next year: Reyes-Montblanc for chair, Carolyn Thompson and Pat Jones for vice chairs, Ted Kovaleff for secretary, Ramona Jennett for assistant secretary, Barbara Marshall for treasurer, and Yvonne Stennett for assistant treasurer-all of whom already hold these positions.

In addition, members nominated Vicky Gholson for vice chair, Michael Palma for treasurer, and Martha Norrick, BC '07, for secretary.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Please join

The Broadway Mall Association (BMA) and
The Community League of the Heights (CLOTH) For

LIGHT UP THE NIGHTS
LIGHT UP THE HEIGHTS
A Winter Lighting Ceremony On

Wednesday November 29th

Light up the Nights/Light up the Heights is an annual winter lighting celebration for the whole family, featuring performances from a variety of local music, dance and student groups along Broadway.

Gatherings and celebrations begin at 7 pm
at 5 locations on Broadway:
102nd Street
135th Street
145th Street

157th Street
169th Street

Lights will be turned on at 7:30 pm

The finale will be a gathering at
Morgan Stanley Children’s Hospital at
New York-Presbyterian Hospital’s Winter Garden
3959 Broadway at West 165th Street following the lighting at 169th Street

Light up the Nights/Light up the Heights is the result of a growing effort to light the entire stretch of Broadway -- from Columbus Circle to 168th Street ---with vibrant lighting from November through February, the darkest months of the year. This year, The Broadway Mall Association is proud to partner with Community League of the Heights and many other organizations and individuals for the biggest celebration so far! We hope it will continue to grow and we invite you to come and support us.

Our partners to date:
2109 Broadway; 225 West 83rd Street; A.R. Walker & Co., Inc.; Artie's Deli; Barnard College; Beacon Hotel; Citarella; Columbia University; Columbia University Health Center; Community League of the Heights; Feline Day Spa; Laytner's Linen; Loehmann's; Montefiore Park Neighborhood Association; New York-Presbyterian Hospital; New York Restoration; Owners of the Apthorp Apartment Building; Cynthia Rivelli; Rochelle and Jesse Shereff; Stribling; The Clarett Group; West Harlem Arts Fund; Zeckendorf Development, LLC;

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Parents Protest Magnet School - Meeting Over Columbia Secondary's Location at P.S. 36 Postponed

Home > News

Parents Protest Magnet School
Meeting Over Columbia Secondary's Location at P.S. 36 Postpon
ed
By Erin Durkin
Issue date: 11/15/06 Section: News

The New York City Department of Education postponed a meeting Tuesday night for parents concerned about a decision to locate the Columbia Secondary School for Math, Science and Engineering at P.S. 36.

The last-minute postponement further angered parents who said they had looked forward to the chance to voice their objections to DOE and Columbia representatives. The meeting was rescheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 21 at 6 p.m."I'm upset because I feel that they should be out here to address any concerns that we have," said Kim Wynn, the president of the Parents' Association at P.S. 36. She said that she was informed of the cancellation at 2:45 p.m. She added that she was told that the decision was made because DOE had expected to have a private meeting with PA leaders and called it off after they were informed it would be public, which might have required a larger space.

The Parents' Association went forward with a planned protest outside the school. Dozens of children held signs and chanted "Save our school!" with parents cheering them on from the sidelines.

Columbia Secondary, a public magnet school that will open next fall and will be run in collaboration by the University and DOE, is set to eventually have its own building on the corner of 125th Street and Broadway, in Columbia's proposed Manhattanville expansion site. It will be temporarily housed at P.S. 36, a pre-kindergarten to second-grade school located on Morningside Drive.

According to a fact sheet handed out to parents at a meeting last week, DOE decided to locate Columbia Secondary at P.S. 36 after conducting a survey that showed that the school has a capacity for 868 students, while its current enrollment is 550. But parents and students Tuesday night disputed that claim, saying that the presence of Columbia Secondary students would overcrowd the school and cause safety issues.

"It's not really underutilized as the Board of Education would make people think," said Harriet Barns, president of the Community Education Council for District 5. She said that she was asked by DOE to serve on a committee to choose a location for the school, but that "it was set in stone before I was ever contacted."

"They want to cram it in like they did with every other school in District 5, where the kids have no special rooms [for enrichment classes]," she said. "You can't learn that way."

Second-grader Julissa Beralto agreed. "I don't want them to take our school away," she said.
"I think it's going to be a mess," added her mother, Yudelka Olivo. "They're going to squeeze all the little kids in. They're taking over everything. Why they got to mess up P.S. 36?"

Daniel Pelaez, 8, voiced concern for his brother, a pre-kindergartener at the school. "They're just babies. They're just babies in this class. They're not supposed to kick babies out. It's wrong," he said.

Shereen Jackson, herself a graduate of P.S. 36 and the mother of two current students and two graduates, raised the issue of safety at the school. "It'll be dangerous for the littler kids," she said. "No offense to the Columbia kids, but I think that they can find another location."

DOE spokesman Andrew Jacob said, "We take all parents' concerns seriously, and we look forward to addressing them at the meeting on Tuesday." On the decision to locate Columbia Secondary at P.S. 36, he said, "It's going to be a temporary solution, and our obligation is to use all of the facilities to accommodate as many students as possible." After the protest, parents and supporters met to strategize on how to block Columbia Secondary's move.

Newly elected State Senator Bill Perkins, D-Harlem, voiced his support for their efforts. "Columbia is not a friend in this particular situation," he said. "They are driving this as much as the Board of Education is driving this. ... I think we can stop this from happening, and we need to stop it from happening."

Community Board 9 chair Jordi Reyes-Montblanc agreed. He said the board had not been consulted on the decision to place the magnet school at P.S. 36. "As far as we're concerned, this is not going anywhere," he said. "We're going to blast everybody from the chancellor of DOE to the trustees of Columbia."

Leora Falk contributed to this article.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Columbia is a Big Meanie!


November 15, 2006
Columbia is a Big Meanie!



Who would residents say is the worse neighbor - Columbia or NYU? For today, at least, the controversy surrounds Columbia, plus the Department of Education. Columbia and the DOE will be opening a secondary magnet public school this fall for sixth through twelfth grade. The school will eventually be located on the university's planned Manhattanville campus, but until the building is completed, the DOE has decided to put the school in PS 36, a pre-K to second grade school on Morning Side Drive and West 121st. Enter the angry parents.


The Columbia Spectator reports that though the DOE sees that PS 36 has enough capacity to house the Columbia Secondary School temporarily, parents believe that there would still be overcrowding, not to mention safety issues by bringing kids over the age of 12 into the mix.




Here's a sampling of quotes:


"I don't want them to take our school away." - Second-grader Julissa Beralto agreed.
"It'll be dangerous for the littler kids. No offense to the Columbia kids, but I think that they can find another location." - Shereen Jackson, herself a graduate of P.S. 36 and the mother of two current students and two graduates.



"They're just babies. They're just babies in this class. They're not supposed to kick babies out. It's wrong." - 8 year old Daniel Pelaez whose brother is a pre-kindergartener at the schoolNow we have the image of Lee Bollinger literally kicking babies. The DOE rescheduled a meeting about the planned move.



Just today, the Observer profiles law school professor Tim Wu. And from another hall of academia: Hunter College is getting raked over the coals thinking about selling off its Kips Bay campus.